Thursday’s council meeting

Here are my notes from Thursday evening’s meetings:

School district lease – This was the big topic. The city and school district have preliminarily negotiated a lease of one wing of City Hall to the Stow-Munroe Falls School District, consisting of 2,627 sq. ft., plus common areas of 5,827 sq. ft., which includes all meeting rooms. Annual rent will increase from $34K to $59K over the course of the 20-year term. We will pay for the first $20K of the district’s cost in building out the space, which will include installation of a security system. But the district will contribute to 10 years of capital improvements at City Hall, with payments of $50K and $75K over the next two years. Thereafter, capital projects at City Hall (such as a new roof) will be prorated on a 88% (city) to 12% (school district) ratio. That same ratio will be used to apportion utility costs to the tenant. I have some concerns, but we are addressing them internally. Overall, as a real estate attorney, I can tell you it is a commercial-style lease with market terms. Next steps: The school board will simultaneously consider the proposal. Naturally, both the board and city council must approve.

Service building project – The Service Department asked council to spend $170K to enclose a garage and add some facilities at the Service Building. The facilities would be used by employees in the water department. I toured the facility, and the project can be justified. However, we are planing to run a budget deficit in 2016, so every expenditure comes with added scrutiny (at least from my perspective). I voted in favor of Brian Lowdermilk’s successful amendment, which reduced the project cost by $40K by eliminating the employee facility. I also made my own motion to ensure that the $130K in funds would not come from our Capital Improvements (i.e., roads) Fund. My amendment also passed. The limited project was then approved by a 5-2 vote (Lowdermilk, Adaska voted “no”).

Council will meet next on May 26. I plan to add an exciting new element to my blog post for that meeting, so stay tuned!